Spy poison case: Suspects say they were in United Kingdom as tourists

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If the British version of the affair is to be believed, on March 4 former GRU Colonel Sergei Skripal, convicted in Russian Federation of spying for Britain, and his daughter Yulia were affected by a Novichok class nerve agent in Salisbury.

Assistant Secretary of State, Manisha Singh, told a congressional hearing that Russian Federation has not yet accepted demands that it come clean about its production of the Novichok nerve agent used in the March 4 attempt to kill former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, England.

A Foreign Office spokesman said that the two men had been identified as the prime suspects and it is clear they are GRU officers who "used a devastatingly toxic, illegal chemical weapons on the streets of our country".

In the interview with RT, Boshirov denied those claims, saying they had traveled that day to see Stonehenge, but "couldn't do it" because "the town was covered by this slush".

"Friends have been telling us for a long time we should visit this lovely city", said the broad-shouldered Petrov.

An except of the full interview was shown on RT News on Thursday morning, and an additional transcript can be seen here.

Asked why they appeared nervous, Boshirov replied that this was because of the worldwide attention they had received.

The pair said their lives were turned upside down after they were publicly named by United Kingdom police.

When the men identified as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov visited Salisbury in March, the city was in the snowy grip of the harshest winter to hit England in years. Boshirov added that the two wanted to see the "famous" cathedral's 132-meter spire and clock. RT said they refused to show their passports or give details on exactly what they do or where they work. While they may have passed the former agent Sergey Skripal's home, "we don't know where it's located", Boshirov said. He expressed hope they would come forward and speak publicly.

Simonyan said during the interview that the two men called her cellphone, asking to tell their story.

After the interview aired, the British government dismissed it as "obfuscation and lies", while the MP for Salisbury said the men's account was "not credible". British intelligence services say the names are likely aliases, used for a mission in which they failed to kill Skripal.

"We have repeatedly asked Russian Federation to account for what happened in Salisbury in March", he added.

Margarita Simonyan, editor in chief of state-owned Russian news network RT, rejected the evidence compiled by the British intelligence services which implicates so-called Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov in the poisoning of former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in March 2018.

"A tourist town", Boshirov said. They denied that they carried a bottle of women's perfume where British authorities found traces of Novichok. It accused them of being agents of Russia's military intelligence agency, the GRU. "Don't you think it's silly for straight men to have women's perfume with them?"

Wearing sweaters and appearing uncomfortable with the questioning, the two men claimed that they travelled as tourists to Salisbury and explained that they made two trips to Salisbury after bad weather hampered their first day trip.

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